Chasing Madoff Jeff Prosserman

Chasing Madoff Jeff Prosserman
Presumably, Jeff Prosserman's documentary fancies itself an Errol Morris hybrid, taking the "non-fiction" approach to his subject in adapting the book No One Would Listen by Bernie Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos. His confessionals, interspersed with (melo) dramatic recreations and stylized editing, suggest as much, although, the distinction here is that Chasing Madoff's more laborious and amusingly contrived conceits make it play out like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. As far as actual information goes, this pseudo-doc does deliver the necessary dramatic punch, insomuch as enough frustration and adjacent identification are developed in Markopolos's ersatz Cassandra complex, reaching out to the SEC and the mainstream a full nine years before anyone would believe that Madoff was a shady scumbag. His number-crunching analytics and assessment of sycophantic, cowering journalists and regulatory agencies are astute and well conveyed .The problem comes more so from Prosserman's often-laughable deification of the financial analyst subject, recreating sequences of him loading guns to protect his family after receiving death threats and checking his car for bombs, adding in the sound of an explosion following the scene for dramatic effect. Furthermore, the cheesy and unnecessary graphics, coupled with arty shots of blood dripping from hands and money burning (without irony), really drives home the low budget trash TV aesthetic. Had the doc stuck to Madoff's Ponzi scheme and the uphill political battle of Markopolos in relation to the indifferent ostrich syndrome of everyone else involved, it could have worked as a testament to our cultural tendency to cower in the face of power. But Prosserman melodramatic handles the material in an effort to ramp up the self-serving nobility in favour of fact. This obviously isn't discussed on the commentary track included with the DVD, but a greater understanding of the tunnel vision involved in the making of this film becomes clear after listening. Also included with the DVD are some deleted scenes and an alternate ending. (eOne)